Photography by Alexandra Gavillet

Megan O’Neill

Senior Associate Beauty Editor, Lucky

| Bushwick

What do you call a born-and-bred New Yorker with an off-the-charts beauty IQ and a no-holds-barred approach to fashion? Well, according to O’Neill, “I’m Cher, Rihanna, Freddie Mercury, Cruella de Vil, Gwen Stefani and Chloe Sevigny all rolled into one.” Or, as we like to call her, “the Babe of Bushwick.” The Senior Associate Beauty Editor of Lucky, O’Neill is always on top of the latest and greatest beauty trends— tirelessly glossing, primping and moisturizing in order to find the (shall we say) crème de la crème. In fact, with an ever-glowing complexion, Crest White-approved smile and funky platinum pixie, we trust her beauty regimen implicitly, though we’re not totally convinced she’s ever needed these products anyway. In any case, we’ll choose to believe in the dream and in whatever jar/tube/compact O’Neill recommends next. Here, she sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: I could eat every meal at Northeast Kingdom (*Location now closed)— it’s just a few blocks away from my apartment. It’s beautifully cozy, dim with exquisite little vintage lamps on the tables and always a hodgepodge of great looking, amazingly stylish people. Everything is farm-fresh or organic and they forage really interesting ingredients like elderflower and black trumpet mushrooms or sour cherries to create these surprising (and beyond delicious) dishes. They’re big on seasonality so the menu is always changing—once they had this kale porridge with a runny egg spilling over it— insane. Lately, I can’t not order the ricotta gnudi; it’s a bowl of buttery heaven. Also, their vodka gimlet is by far my favorite vodka gimlet on the planet. There’s a downstairs lounge (it feels kind of like a charming basement rec room) where you can get drinks and fun snacks while you wait for your table too.

COFFEE OR TEA: Maialino (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) has the most delicious green tea. You’ve got to drink it on the premises because it’s so airy and light-filled in there.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: I am forever in search of the perfect French fries and I swear Cherche Midi (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) has done it! I overzealously talk about the fries all the time—how they’re just thin enough, just crispy enough and superbly salt-studded. I always want two orders… if I only get that and a glass of wine, is it really that gross?

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: Years ago, I read an article on Kate Moss where she was drinking a vodka gimlet and it’s been my drink ever since. Aside from the one at Northeast, The Smile (MAP IT, x) does my second favorite— theirs is so lime-y, tart and refreshing. Roberta’s (MAP IT, x) has a crazy margarita, especially when you’re drinking it in the summer in their garden with music playing and cute boys everywhere.

GIRLS NIGHT OUT: I think girls nights in are way more fun— having your best friends over to your house and maybe baking something, throwing together some cocktails, blasting Miley and dancing. When we do go out, it’s usually to Three Diamond Door (MAP IT, x): it’s always really packed and really drunk in there. The Drink in Williamsburg (*Location now closed) is super fun— it’s a dive with delicious cocktails. Call Box Lounge (MAP IT, x) is this seedy dance joint that I debate mentioning. I’ve only ever been there in the hazy, carefree dead of night; there are technicolor lights flaring and a DJ that does whatever you say.

MUSIC PICK: I love all pop (like I want z100 to DJ my wedding): Miley, Rihanna, Robyn, Bruno Mars, Kanye… I equally love ’90s music too: Soundgarden, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots and Salt-n-Pepa. If anyone knows a cool bar that makes crazy gimlets and spins ’90’s tunes, you have to tell me.

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: McCarren Skatepark (MAP IT, x). Everyone is stringy-haired and awesome on their board. My friend skates— it would be a dumb lie to say I do, but I’m always game to try and I can do a few little tricks on my board; I just love sitting there watching. Also, Dean & DeLuca (MAP IT, x). It’s always the sleekest crowd in there— like a bunch of Amal Clooney’s shopping for artisanal yogurts.

HEALTHY STAPLE: The Butcher’s Daughter (MAP IT, x) for the Monterey eggs (sunny-side eggs, smashed avocado, salsa and sourdough toast), but mostly Whole Foods because I practically live there and feel entitled to the delicious nut bins.

GUILTY PLEASURE: Levain Bakery (MAP IT, x) has THE BEST cookie in the world— it’s insane! It’s big and meaty and studded with nuts and chocolate chips (the perfect equilibrium) and it has that magic quality of a baguette where it’s a little crispy on the outside and then just totally luscious on the inside. I also love the olive oil muffin at Maialino.

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: Walking over the Williamsburg Bridge when you’re a little drunk.

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: The subway. Of course it’s terrible and gross, but it has an incomparable energy. Riding the L train is like watching a television show.

REGULAR AT: My mom and I have a little ritual of going to Balthazar (MAP IT, BOOK ITx) for omelets, French fries and tea on Saturdays. They have (indisputably) the best omelets: they’re gorgeously folded and filled with drippy gruyere and herbs. The secret to the fries is that they’re fried in duck fat. Sometimes we order petit fours as well—theirs are tiny and frosted with a thin layer of jam and absolutely melt in your mouth. Balthazar does those best, too.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: Northeast Kingdom, again. It’s the lighting.

CLOSET CHECK: I’m Cher, Rihanna, Freddie Mercury, Cruella de Vil, Gwen Stefani and Chloe Sevigny all rolled into one. I guess I’d call it, “vintage-y, mussed-up Gibson Girl with a dash of variety show glitz.” Narnia (MAP IT, x) is this vintage boutique on the Lower East Side that is chock-full of treasures. I live for ’70s and ’80s Betsey Johnson dresses and I’ve found almost all of them there. What Goes Around Comes Around (MAP IT, x) is just as insane— rare beautiful vintage everything, from ancient Chanel and Chloe to the coolest, scraggliest jean cut-offs. I got one of my favorite dresses there: this black, see-through, ankle-length dress; I wear it with a flannel tied around my waist for an iota of modesty on the subway during the day, or sans cover up with strappy sandals at night.

ACCESSORIES PICK: I pile on the same beloved jewelry pieces every single day: there’s my nameplate “Megan” necklace that I never take off, the glinting gold chain my fiancé, Jesse got me this Christmas (I asked for something “Kanye-ish”), a clunky gold cuff from the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market (MAP IT, x) and an ancient hammered gold bracelet I stole from my friend who stole it from her deceased great aunt— clearly, my dream is to be dripping in shiny gold chains one day. The best jewelry stores are Mociun in Brooklyn (MAP IT, x) (where my engagement ring is from) and Pippin in Chelsea (MAP IT, x)— amazing, amazing, rare and wonderful vintage pieces.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: Brooklyn Kitchen (MAP IT, x)— there are teas in pretty tins, fancy yogurts, rare meats, cute jars of peanuts and olive oil on tap! Also, Hops and Hocks in Bushwick (MAP IT, x) is an arsenal of quirky, artisanal goods like jalapeño-infused honey, stinky cheeses, jerky and weird Polish beers.

BEAUTY BLACK BOOK: I cannot choose between three. Hairstylist/colorist Noel Reid-Killings, owner of Noel New York (MAP IT, x)— she resuscitated my chemically treated hair and she knows how to style you without making you look too “froufrou.” Hair colorist Aura Friedman (x) at Sally Hershberger downtown (MAP IT, x)— she’s the mad genius behind every rad model’s and It-girl’s platinum blonde hair transformation including my own! And finally, spa owner/facialist Ling Chan (MAP IT, x) who healed my horrible acne. She gives the most rigorous, glowing skin inducing facials and her special infrared treatment seriously changes your complexion.

BEAUTY PICK: My skin is plumped, gleamy, smooth and gorgeous after I massage it in a bit of this body lotion I recently discovered called Eu2Be. My favorite beauty store is Shen Beauty (MAP IT, x). They have a wild assortment of luxe, small batch and imported formulas that you can not find anywhere else.

FIT PICK: I get lethargic and fussy if I don’t work out two-three times a week. I like a mix of pilates, yoga, jogging and any other new class a publicist might tell me about. I go to New York Sports Club (MAP IT) (which is great because it has the ubiquity of Starbucks and they offer a billion classes all day). If I don’t do a class, I’ll just roll around on the mats. For yoga, I like the Loom Yoga in Bushwick (MAP IT, x) for the studio’s simplicity and calmness.

I’m born and raised in the city, and once when I was a kid, a homeless man took the fig newton cookie I was eating out of my hand. I think it hardened me. CP

Megan’s New York

From L to R: First Row: Muffins and baked goods at Maialino; Kitchenware at Mociun; Inside Narnia Vintage; Post-meal at Balthazar. Second Row: Womenswear at What Comes Around Goes Around; Burger and fries at Cherche Midi; Levain chocolate chip cookies; Outside Narnia Vintage.


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